As the festive season approaches it is good to reflect on a year which has been full of many challenges and look back at what we have had to deal with as a procurement and supply chain profession.
The demand spikes and supply side shortages after we emerged from Covid continued into 2022. The issues created by the Brexit transition saw trade barriers put in place which have hindered the flow of goods between the UK and, our biggest trading partner, the EU, plus the introduction of additional paperwork and consequent border delays have all contributed to higher prices as higher supply chain costs and increased commodity prices have driven inflation up to levels many have never seen.
Then in February 2022 the start of the war in Ukraine drove energy prices to unprecedented levels, and as a direct consequence the cost of almost everything we buy as procurement and supply chain professionals increased further.
These macro-economic & domestic events have seen our profession grappling with more supply side shortages which in turn have had huge inflationary pressures on prices.
Whilst throwing up multiple challenges, 2022 has also created a unique ‘live-learning’ environment for procurement professionals as every day has presented a different scenario, and we have had to adapt to a professional life where the only thing that is constant is change.
Typically, we have been busy finding new supply sources, entering negotiations where our buyer power has weakened or more closely managing existing suppliers to drive fulfilment and on-time delivery. Procurement professionals have had to dig deep into their list of best practice techniques and apply the learning from our CIPS courses in a live environment.
2022 was the third year in a row in which we had gone from a world of stable sourcing into one of global supply shortages and change. We would ask you all to reflect on these points and realise what an incredibly versatile and resilient profession you belong to.
It’s been a year of growth at Aspire Procurement Training. We launched our procurement and supply apprenticeships programmes, having been awarded Main Provider status in March. We successfully retained our CIPS Centre of Excellence accreditation in July, and demand for our short commercial courses has jumped by over 400%.
We added new student champions and an apprentice champion to our teams to support our learner experience and provide enhanced pastoral care. Helen, Penelope and Penny have all shone this year. We could not grow the business without superstars like them. They have helped drive our new technologies and processes to a new level.
We continue to drive our business forward as the training division of our parent company, Slater Austin, who in turn have seen record growth in supply chain consultancy and recruitment. Overall, the group is aligned on delivering the supply chain talent of the future, and we are proud to play our part.
At every turn, we are seeing new opportunities to meet the demands and expectations of our growing learner and client base, and look forward to expanding our services throughout 2023. We predict continued challenges in finding and developing the right supply chain talent as the labour market remains competitive and supply chain activity remains essential in both the fight against inflationary pressures and the fulfilment of sales.
For now though, we’re going to take a break, and come back refreshed. With all of the challenges in the world, whether it be war, famine, discrimination, poverty or anxiety, may we all continue to work towards a better tomorrow.
However you are spending this festive period, we wish you, your families and your friends a very Merry Christmas and a healthy, prosperous, happy and safe New Year.
Mark Parker MCIPS and Richard Slater, Directors of Aspire Procurement Training Ltd